Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

812eeYQMIpLAncestral Night by Elizabeth Bear is billed as a “space opera” and indeed it seems written with adaptation to Netflix in mind. Hard to explain otherwise the gratuitous “sexy space pirate” character (yes, that is what she is called in the novel, more than once to remind us… I was surprised when author didn’t have a character say, “Sort of like old Earth star Kristen Stewart with a short haircut who I saw once on the ‘vidartifact'” etc.  I mean, they read novels in space 50,000 years from now but they don’t watch reruns of The Office? I get it, I’m a big reader too so a writer wants her heroes to also be readers… but….

Anyway, the novel is fine for beach or airplane or night reading. The writing could have benefited from good editing… several times I found myself saying, “Oh, didn’t I read that exact same exposition about 20 pages ago?” And the political economy and “who am I” sections are very lengthy and tedious and possibly only interesting if you are 16… which may be the intended audience. And Arlo Guthrie fans.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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